Monday, 15 April 2019 09:36

Germany gives clear indication no ban on Huawei Featured

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Germany gives clear indication no ban on Huawei Image by moerschy from Pixabay

Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies will not be shut out from Germany's 5G networks, with Berlin's telecommunications regulator signalling that the firm would not be kept out despite US pressure.

The president of the federal network agency, Bundesnetzagentur, Jochen Homann, told London's Financial Times that the position the agency took was that no supplier, including Huawei, should be specifically excluded.

Last month, it was reported that the American envoy to Germany, Richard Grenell, had written to German Economy Minister Peter Altmeier, saying that if any Chinese vendors were allowed to supply equipment for the 5G networks in Germany, then the US would cut down on its intelligence co-operation with Berlin.

Also in March, Germany said it had tightened security criteria for all vendors who supply telecommunications equipment to the country's telcos.

Equipment for all critical communications networks should be vetted by the country's cyber security watchdog, the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), and undergo security checks by a BSI-approved testing body, the Bundesnetzagentur said.

Though the US has been repeating claims that Huawei's technology poses a security risk, Homann said the Bundesnetzagentur had yet to see any evidence to back up these claims.

“The Bundesnetzagentur has not received any concrete indications against Huawei. Nor are we aware of any other body in Germany that has received any reliable indications," he told the FT.

In February, it was reported that a small group of German ministries had reached preliminary agreement on Huawei, with a decision to snub the US.

The auction of 5G spectrum in Germany began in March and four operators are competing for licences – Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica and Drillisch.

Another factor mentioned by Homann was the fact that telcos were already using Huawei technology in their systems. Added to this, the fact that the Chinese behemoth held a large number of 5G patents would delay the roll out of 5G in Germany.

Only Australia and New Zealand have fallen in line with Washington's dictates to ban Huawei, but even Wellington has indicated that the initial refusal for telco Spark to use Huawei gear is not the end of the matter.

That stance was reiterated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a one-day China visit in April. Huawei sued the US on 7 March, seeking to be reinstated as a telco supplier in the country.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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